January 27, 2017


How I Became a Real-Life 'Gossip Girl' for a Day

James Devaney/WireImage
James Devaney/WireImage

For Class of 2007 Week, Fuse is celebrating all the greatest things culture gave us exactly one decade ago. Blair Waldorf, Chuck Bass, Serena Van Der Woodsen, do any of these names ring a bell? It does for me. Not only was '07 the premiere year of Gossip Girl—the beloved television drama following the lives of privileged teenagers on the Upper East Side—it was on this very show that my acting talents would be discovered five years later. Okay, not quite, but I was a principal background actress on the show for one episode playing a high school mean girl. The pro: It was the last scene of the entire series, so technically the whole series ended with me; not Chuck Bass, Serena, or even Queen B. The con: You can't even see my face.

Here's my defining experience leading up to my five seconds of fame on the show.

Arnaldo Magnani/Getty Images
Arnaldo Magnani/Getty Images

The day of the audition was also the first day of my junior year in college and 19-year-old me had a full day of classes from 8:30am to 7:15pm. Here's a run down: I chugged a venti coffee from Starbucks and headed to class until about 10:30 since the audition was from 11 to 1, and I knew I just had to be there before 1. 

I drove to the set location in New York while trying to get through traffic, painting my toenails, touching up my makeup, and sipping on a Red Bull. My heart was beating so fast that it felt like it was going to either stop or pop right out of my chest. It didn't help that it was almost one o'clock and the director and talent scouts were all waiting on me. I finally got there and, of course, I had to look for parking. (Side note: finding street parking any where in New York is nearly impossible unless Jesus is on your side and rooting for you that day. And that day he wasn't rooting for me.) Some guy from production was already waiting outside for me so I pulled into a fire hydrant spot and ran with him up to the audition. As I was getting out of my car, there were two girls from the audition waiting outside; they gave me the stink eye and murmured how unprofessional it was to be late to a Gossip Girl audition—classic GG moment just without the headbands and macarons—but they were so right! I was unprofessional and unprepared, but give me a break, I was in college. You try juggling two majors, two jobs, volunteer work, a social life, all while trying to become the next Lucy Lui.

Your hair is so straight, it's fine. Here's a headband.

At the audition I had to improvise a scene with one of the casting directors. The scene was along the lines of her being a popular mean girl telling me I shouldn't buy a dress because it looks better on her. I had to react to her trying to put me down just so she can buy the dress and boost her ego. I totally bombed that audition. In a bad way. I cursed and called the casting director a "bitch." Well, not so much her, but the "character" she was playing—still, not one of my proudest moments. But somehow I got a part! To this day I tell myself that they only called me back because they desperately needed people and I was the last resort.

James Devaney/WireImage
James Devaney/WireImage

The shooting day was about a week later from the audition and I was almost late to that too. Actually, I arrived so much later than everyone that none of the school uniforms that were available fit me properly, though, it was fine because I barely went through hair and makeup. (FYI, Asian hair almost never goes through hair and makeup.) "Your hair is so straight, it's fine. Here's a headband." If you've ever been on a set for any kind of taping, this was no different. Eight to 10 hours of sitting and waiting around, stuffing your face with food from craft services, and maybe a total of an hour or two of actual filming depending on your role. It only took about 30 minutes to film my scene even though they did multiple takes...and then I was done! I didn't have a run in with any of the cast members at this shoot, but the production team did invite a few of us to be extras in a scene with Chace Crawford and Leighton Meester's characters which I couldn't attend because of classes and work.

I didn't become a world famous actress or become BFFs with Blake Lively like I thought I was going to be, but it was a pretty cool experience. When it randomly comes up in conversations, people are just as excited and shocked as the day I got the call back.

Watch my scene below (can you spot me? I'm at 3:23) and check out all of Fuse's Class of 2007 Week content here.

Next, watch a classic interview with Penn Badgley talk about a major post–Gossip Girl role playing Jeff Buckley in Greetings From Tim Buckley: